Elance Launches ‘Groups’ to Help Businesses Find Specialized IT Contractors

Mountain View, California (PRESS RELEASE – October 10, 2009) – Elance, where companies hire, manage and pay contractors online, today unveiled “Groups” to further differentiate its IT and marketing professionals with branded affiliations based on expertise and credentials.

“Elance’s professional community of individuals and teams who work online have a tremendous breadth and depth of expertise. We are committed to connecting companies with experts who have the demonstrated skills and qualifications to get the job done,” said Brad Porteus , CMO of Elance.

According to a survey on hiring conducted by Elance, hiring managers indicated that 3 in 4 businesses prefer to hire contractors with tested skills and verified credentials. Elance Groups are organized by sponsoring companies who set admission criteria such as skill tests and certifications for their specific groups. Inaugural sponsoring companies include Microsoft, PayPal, Adobe, Palm, Facebook, Sun, Yahoo!, American Express, Salesforce.com and many more.

“Microsoft’s small business customers consistently tell us they want a community of experts who can deliver customized solutions utilizing our leading Microsoft products like Microsoft Office Access, Microsoft Office Excel, and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server,” said Kirk Gregersen, senior director of Microsoft Information Worker Services. “With the new Elance Groups, it makes it easy for our customers to find and work with the experts they need.”

“Elance’s launch of their PayPal Certified Developer Group helps recognize those developers who have kept their skills up to date with PayPal’s newly-released Certification 2.0,” said Jason Korosec, general manager, PayPal Platform. “Clients can be assured that these Elance providers are some of the best trained in integrating PayPal’s full suite of payment products.”

As the trend of getting work done through online contractors continues to surge, so has the importance of transparent qualifications and credentials. A recent Elance survey that received 335 responses from employers who hire online contractors demonstrated that tested skills and verified credentials are important factors in the evaluation and hiring process, with 77 percent of prospective clients considering it important that candidates showcase tested skills when promoting their services. Data from Elance’s hiring records underscores the importance of tested skills, indicating that proposals submitted by providers with tested skills are 33 percent more likely to win projects than those from providers without tested skills.

Overall, the survey reveals that businesses look for demonstrated skills and past work performance when hiring professionals online:

· Feedback and ratings from previous work assignments are very important to 89 percent of hiring businesses

· Work samples are very important to 84 percent of hiring businesses

· Rates and costs are very important to 78 percent of hiring businesses

· The trend of hiring contract professionals continues to grow as nearly a third of businesses plan on hiring more contractors and less full-time employees, while 50 percent plan to keep hiring about the same.

Elance Groups sponsors also include companies such as Zoho, CVSDude, Central Desktop, ooVoo, ConceptShare, Dimdim, Drop.io and ProtoShare. A complete directory of Elance Groups and members is available at http://www.elance.com/group_directory.

About the Survey

Elance conducted this online survey from June 22, 2009 to July 8, 2009 with answers coming from more than 300 small businesses. For more information on the survey or the complete results, visit Elance’s blog at http://www.elance.com/blog.

About Elance, Inc.

Elance, where companies find, hire, manage and pay contractors online, is transforming the way businesses get work done.

On Elance, companies gain instant access to 100,000 rated and tested professionals who offer technical, marketing and business expertise.

With more than $215m in Elance earnings to date, independent professionals use Elance to meet clients and get paid for delivering great results.

The company is privately held and headquartered in Mountain View, California. For more information, visit Elance at http://www.elance.com.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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